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The Dos and Don’ts of Child Custody

Important Advice from Your Grand Rapids Child Custody Law Firm

There are two major reasons why you should follow the “dos” and don’ts” from your child custody attorney. First: your children – they are worth it, right? Second: you’re spending a lot of money on your attorney; complying with the advice of your Grand Rapids child custody law firm will likely save some attorney fees.

That said, every child custody case and client is unique, and any online blog can only provide general suggestions and individualized advice from your attorney should always trump these general lists.

  1. Do show a willingness to work with your ex. Even if you can predict with 100% accuracy that your ex will reject your offers of cooperation, your offer to cooperate will benefit you during the court’s review.
  2. Do exercise all parenting time awarded to you. Set aside other responsibilities as much as possible. Your child needs your love and attention; especially during this time. Failure to exercise the time ordered will not benefit you during future custody and parenting time hearings.
  3. Do provide regular parenting time responsibilities. You are exercising parenting time; not visitation. Spend time helping with homework, make the children Do their chores. Have chore charts at your house. Even if you never did this stuff in the past, you are a single parent now.
  4. Do prepare for your hearing. Keep charts, calendars, take fun photos. If you can show the judge photos that you went on field trips, you created a homey bedroom for your daughter, and you worked with your son on a four-wheeler during your free time, you are establishing a strong bond which will benefit your case.
  5. Do consider all settlement offers. Decades of experience has shown me that clients are never 100% happy after a custody case. There is always a sense of loss. Proceeding with an expensive custody trial will not alleviate the pain and loss. Your Grand Rapids child custody is dedicated to the best interest of you and your child. Thus, if your attorney suggests you take a child custody settlement, he or she must feel it is a good option for your family. 
  6. Do NOT argue in public places or with third parties. If you attend school or extracurricular functions, sit on the other side of the room if you expect an argument. If your ex creates a scene, apologize to those around you for the disturbance and politely tell your ex that you are willing to discuss the situation at a later agreed-upon time and walk away.
  7. Do NOT date while the divorce is pending. Your children need you now more than ever; you should be adjusting to single parenting and your children will often feel betrayed by a new ‘significant other’. Most importantly, it Doesn’t matter how you view the situation: the judge will likely view your dating as unfavorable.
  8. Do NOT use social media. Even if you are no longer friends with your ex, your common friends will give your ex access to your profile and use and abuse your posts at trial.
  9. Do NOT stalk or harass your ex. You separated for a reason. Don’t continue the fight; it’s time to move on. Contact your ex about issues regarding children, such as homework, meds, schedules and clothes. And discuss those things via text, apps such as Our Family Wizard, and not in front of the children.
  10. Do NOT reject help for you and your children. There are support groups for you and your children. You or your children do not necessarily need years of counselling, but a few sessions may help you adjust much better so that you are a better employee, parent and friend to those around you.

Let the Legal Team at Kraayeveld Law Help You Make Sense of the Child Custody Process 

Overall, fighting for custody can be a stressful endeavor. If you are preparing to go through a divorce with children or are simply trying to fight for time with you child, please contact us to schedule a confidential initial consultation. To speak with our Grand Rapids child custody law firm call 616-285-0808 or request an appointment online today.